Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples.
After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.
One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.
No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.
First of all I just want to say thank you to Philip Siegel and the fabulous girls over at Literary Lushes ARC Tours for giving me a chance to read this ARC! I’ve been really looking forward to it since the minute I heard about it, and I was so thrilled to be a part of the tour!
Then there’s the book.
The short version of this review: I say yes. You want it. You know you want it. Go pre-order it. Now. It is most definitely worth it.
The long version:
My friends thought I was a completely different person the day I started (and finished) THE BREAK-UP ARTIST.
When I wasn’t laughing at Becca and her humorous antics, I was eating up every word of THE BREAK-UP ARTIST. There’s so many ways this story could’ve gone wrong, but it didn’t. I loved everything about Becca and the way her mindset changed and evolved throughout the course of the story. I loved her loyalty to her sister, if sometimes misguided, and the way she felt real to me. She made her own mistakes and had her own triumphs. In a lot of ways, Siegel made his main character shine through many different moments–and I really appreciated that about this book.
In different times during the story, I sometimes wished that there was more to the supporting characters. While Becca was funny and fully fleshed-out, I thought that maybe Siegel’s other characters could’ve used a little more attention. I liked the way Siegel focused on Huxley and Steve as well, being patient and taking the time to show the reader why they are the way they are and why their relationship is the way it is instead of just taking it skin-deep or what they appear to be. I would’ve liked to see more of Val and Ezra. It seemed like they had very specific roles and instead of letting them fly, Ezra in particular had one specific personality trait that they had to channel.
As for the plot, I loved how Becca’s antics and her journey for truth as she sought to break up Huxley and Steve. I also enjoyed the small bits and pieces of conversations both between Ezra and herself and Huxley about love. It was nice to see that depth to the story and Becca’s mindset so clearly. I also enjoyed all the movie references. :) As I said before, there were a lot of things that could’ve gone wrong with this story. And for that, I feel like the plot to THE BREAK-UP ARTIST was really well done. It’s like the anime and manga SWORD ART ONLINE, about a boy named Kirito stuck in a video game. In the game, Kirito learns about love and friendship and what it means to live. (If you haven’t watched SAO and plan to anytime in the future, just read the bold in the next paragraph).
A lot of people don’t think SAO should’ve gone the way it did and that it should’ve just ended after Kirito beat SAO. But no. It couldn’t have, and it couldn’t have because of the fact that Asuna (Kirito’s love interest) was still stuck in the game and she sacrificed her life for her when she died at the hands of Kayaba Akihiko in Sword Art Online. Because of the life Kirito gained early in the game, even though he was technically dead and should’ve stayed dead, he was able to kill Akihiko and end the game. Since Sugou Nobuyuki (Oberon) in Alfheim Online captured the NerveGear victims, he basically saved her life. So even though he’s a total creep and he deserved the end that Kirito gave him, people still need to appreciate him because he’s basically the one reason why Asuna survived. And the symbolism behind the final battle in real life…. I could go on about SAO forever, simply because of the fact that the plot was so masterful. And c’mon, even if you only see SAO on the surface, it’s still amazing. You don’t get the title most popular anime of the year without something special. And my point is? Well, I said that THE BREAK-UP ARTIST reminded me of SAO, didn’t I? Instead of going the typical, obvious routes Reki Kawahara could’ve gone, he instead found special, unique and brilliant slight plot twists that changed the story itself and made the perfect end of SAO possible.
I feel that way kind of about THE BREAK-UP ARTIST. There’s so many minute details that make the end (oh man, I loved that end…) possible. That made the transformation behind Becca possible. I felt like every single scene was there for a reason, and Siegel made sure not to rush anything and let things transform naturally. The pace goes along well and while I did have my own problems with THE BREAK-UP ARTIST initially and now, I loved this story and I definitely recommend it to any and all contemporary fans out there. This is a truly promising debut from Philip Siegel, and I will certainly be looking out for his other great contributions to the YA world. 4.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 304